Throughout centuries burial habits have been changing significantly on our soil. The reason for that is probably the geographical location of our country, since we lie on a crossroads of different cultures and climate zones. On our soil there is also the only passage across the Alps over to the Dinaric mountain range that is relatively flat and was more manoeuvrable to cross than any other area elsewhere. Being on this kind of draft area also meant that caravans and caravans of different people and cultures passed our territory, always leaving something behind. A part of this is also seen in our burial history. The pile-dwellers on the marshes of Ljubljana believed in cremation and scattering the ashes into the water, their tradition was followed by the cremation and keeping ashes inside of the urns. Urns were buried together with a few important belongings of the deceased, together with food and drinks so the person would not be hungry or thirsty reaching the other world. When the Romans set foot on our soil they used a similar technique of cremation and urns, but after they adopted Christianity, burial traditions change – there is no more cremation, the body is buried whole and with some favourite belongings that represented the life of a person together with some goodies for the afterlife. What was important with the Romans, is that the city of the people never mixed up with the burial grounds – they were located away from the centres but usually en route to the cities. Along side major roads whole cities of the dead were established, the more money you had, more prominent the location of your gravestone would be. In burial traditions rivers were considered sacred spots as well – sometimes rituals, to commemorate a certain cult, took place on the embankments of rivers. When Romans left and Slavs came, at the beginning they started burying people on the other side of the river, but once Christianity was adopted again, they started searching for Holy lands, that were usually represented in a church territory. Still in villages of Slovenia you can find a cemetery attached to the church, but in most cities there was not enough place and they needed to come to a different solution. In Ljubljana first cemetery was located near the Cathedral dedicated to Saint Nicholas, when they lacked place it moved to another area close to the church of Saint Peter. It opened its doors between 9th and 10th centuries, also people from nearby were buried there. Slowly there was lack of space, so they moved the third time to the area of the church of Saint Christopher. Gravesite was opened in 1797, but once the railway line was brought into its vicinity, they started thinking of moving it to a new location. And this is how we come to year 1906. They were still burying people in caskets, but before the burial the deceased had to lie in his parish church for 2 – 3 days, so relatives could come and say goodbye. The reason why they were left in the church for three days is also practical – sometimes they needed to make sure that the person is truly dead. At places they even tied a bell to their toes – so if it started to ring, the dead were definitely “saved by the bell”. After the farewell, a long procession from the parish church to the new cemetery started. New cemetery lied in the far area of the city, so it took a while – but it also caused problems with traffic in the city. For years they were thinking of a solution – one of them would be having chapels of parish churches located directly on the cemetery where the deceased could lie before the burial, but since the city was financially weak and there were no funds, it was hard to get a proper, economically doable idea. And this is where our greatest architect came into the picture. He was a genius who studied in Vienna, travelled the world and worked both in Prague and Vienna, returned back to his birth city and established an architectural faculty. His biggest quirk was stinginess and that actually brought him a lot of work, since the city was lacking funds. He recycled a lot with the already used materials and found objects that nobody wanted to use. In 1940 he was chosen to remodel the cemetery. His idea for the cemetery’s name was the “Garden of Death”, but the city disagreed and they voted for Žale instead – also that name falls in correctly, “žalovati” in Slovenian means to mourn and with that Žale would be a place where you mourn. With all his architectural work he was inspired by Greece, so the entry gate is modelled on a Greek temple. There is no roof – that is a symbolic representation of a border between the living and the death. The statue of Jesus on the top protects the city, from the other side Mary with her cape protects the dead. There is a central building for administration, followed by a garden of 14 death chapels, that are representing parishes from the entire city and its patron Saints. In the middle you can find a prayer house where the family can intimately say goodbye, the oil lamps are symbolising the passage from the living world into the world of the death. The architect wanted to create a city in miniature. The city had an idea that some chapels would be bigger and some smaller, depending how wealthy and prominent a deceased person would be – but Plečnik neglected the idea, he believed that before God we are all equal and there are no more differences among us.